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SPIE Professional January 2009

New SPIE Officers Have History of Service to Optics Community

By Amy Nelson

María Yzuel has long been an enthusiastic promoter of SPIE’s mission to connect optics and photonics researchers and developers and to advance science and engineering in every part of the world. As she takes office as the 2009 President of the Society, she has an even greater role in doing so.

Katarina Svanberg and Maria Yzuel
Katarina Svanberg and María Yzuel.

Yzuel, professor of optics at the Department of Physics of the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona in Spain, acts on her conviction that SPIE and other scientific societies can be powerful influences in ensuring a well-trained workforce to meet the challenges of the future.

She has actively supported SPIE programs that facilitate networking such as the Society’s Student Chapters, Women in Optics, Education Outreach, and the Early Career Professional and Visiting Lecturer programs. Yzuel notes that SPIE’s support for scholarships, grants, and other support totalled more than $1.6 million in 2007, and that the SPIE Digital Library is made available at no or low cost to students and researchers in developing countries through the ICTP (Abdus Salaam International Centre for Theoretical Physics) electronic Journals Delivery Service (eJDS) and the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP).

Recently named a fellow (Socio de Honor) of the Spanish Optical Society (Sociedad Española de Optica-SEDOPTICA), Yzuel has participated in many collaborative projects furthering optics education. Among these are the ICTP Winter School in Optics held annually in Trieste, Italy; UNESCO’s Active Learning in Optics and Photonics (ALOP) program, cosponsored by SPIE and several other organizations; and RIAO-OPTILAS, the co-located Iberoamerican Conference on Optics and Latin American Meeting on Optics, Lasers and Applications.

Industry Support Important

In addition to attracting students to science and engineering, Yzuel sees SPIE playing another strong role in supporting industry. “We are in an excellent position to apply our familiarity and connections with research funding agencies to communicate with them about the importance of optical science and applications in research, development, and innovation in the coming years,” she says.

Having talked with leaders of numerous industry and other organizations in visits throughout the world, Yzuel sees SPIE’s diverse, international nature as an important factor in the Society’s effectiveness.

Yzuel’s technical interests include diffraction image theory, imaging and apodization with applications to photolithography, information optics, optical pattern recognition, color information in correlators and the characterization and use of liquid crystal devices in diffractive optics. She has published more than 250 scientific papers and presented approximately 20 invited papers and more than 200 regular contributions in scientific conferences. She has supervised more than 20 PhD theses.

2009 Leadership Team

Other top officers for 2009 elected by SPIE membership are President-Elect Ralph B. James, Vice President Katarina Svanberg, and Brian A. Lula, who was re-elected Secretary/Treasurer.


Ralph James. Photo courtesy of BNL 

James is program manager and senior scientist for the Brookhaven National Laboratory (USA) where he serves as associate laboratory director for Energy, Environment & National Security. His technical interests encompass photonic and electro-optical instrumentation, sensors, imaging, lasers, laser processing of materials, nanotechnology, nonlinear optics, and biomedical imaging.

James has published more than 420 journal articles, conference proceedings, book chapters and invited review papers, has 11 patents granted, and served as editor of 16 books on sensors, spectroscopy and imaging.

James is a four-time winner of the R&D Magazine R&D 100 award recognizing 100 top inventions of the year, recipient of Discover magazine’s Innovator of the Year award and co-winner of the World’s 50 Best Technologies award from the National Association for Seed and Venture Capital Funds. He was named a Eugene P. Wigner Fellow by Oak Ridge National Lab.

James has served as conference chair of the conference on Hard X-Ray, Gamma-Ray, and Neutron Detector Physics at SPIE’s Optics+Photonics symposium, has been active on numerous other conference program committees and was a founding member of the SPIE Working Group on Penetrating Radiation.

Dr. Svanberg is professor of oncology and chief physician in Oncology at Lund University Hospital in Sweden. She researches diagnostics of atherosclerotic plaques utilizing laser-induced fluorescence and the detection and treatment of malignant tumors utilizing various tumor-localizing substances and laser light.

Svanberg is a recipient of Sweden’s prestigious SKAPA Innovation Prize, has given invited talks at 90 international conferences and 30 universities around the world, and has supervised activities for numerous PhD students in biomedical optics. She serves as a scientific adviser for several educational, industry and governmental organizations in Europe and North America, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and National Cancer Institute.

She has been symposium or conference chair at numerous biomedical optics conferences throughout the world, including the BiOS (Biomedical Optics) symposium at SPIE Photonics West and the European Conference on Biomedical Optics, of which SPIE is a cosponsor. She has also served on the editorial board for SPIE’s Journal of Biomedical Optics and other publications.

Brian Lula, president of Physik Instrumente LPLula is president and CEO of PI Physik Instrumente LP (USA) and a respected CCD astronomical imager and educator. He serves on several SPIE committees and is chair of the Finance Committee.

He is a lifetime member of the Springfield Telescope Makers and a judge of its national amateur telescope making competition held at its annual Stellafane Convention in Vermont. More information and photographs of Lula's astronomical images and telescope making can be found at Heaven's Glory Observatory. His achievements in telescope making and astroimaging were featured in the April 2008 issue of this magazine.

Read the full list of SPIE Officers and Directors.


Amy Nelson
Amy Nelson is Public Relations Manager for SPIE. 

Have a question or comment about this article? Write to us at SPIEprofessional@spie.org.

DOI: 10.1117/2.4200901.13

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